Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why giving money to the Creation Museum isn't the end of the world

Ever since PZ's grand trip to the Creation Museum was planned, people started complaining. Why the hell are we funding something we don't support, they asked. It's a valid concern. With approximately 200 people going at the discounted rate of $10, that's $2000 a bunch of atheists are handing over to young earth creationists. So why the hell are we going? Shouldn't we all be ashamed of ourselves?

Let me break it down as to why giving money to the Creation Museum isn't horrible.

1. $2000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the Creation Museum's million dollar budget. It's hardly going to help them out compared to the amount of traffic they get on a regular basis.

2. Many of the atheists going on this trip have wanted to visit the Creation Museum, and probably would have done it at some point in time on their own anyway. The regular entrance fee is $22 dollars. So 91 people going on their own cost the same as 200 people going as a group. Might as well get more people into the museum for the same price.

3. Even with that, the registration for the trip included an option to donate to the Secular Student Alliance to offset the money you're giving to the Creation Museum. While $2000 dollars in nothing for the museum, it's a ton of money for the SSA's small budget. So if anything, this has been a great fundraiser for a wonderful secular group.

4. Speaking of fundraising, tons of the people going will be blogging, tweeting, posting photos, uploading YouTube videos...all calling out the Creation Museum for its ridiculousness. While we're probably not going to convert any museum goers (which isn't our goal), we are going to spread the word about the museum's shenanigans. People have done individual posts about it, but this trip is so publicized - not only because PZ is going, but because so many atheists are going - that it's going to get more press.

5. And speaking of more press, this isn't just going to be some internet thing. News stations have already got wind that we're coming, and the word is going to spread. Everyone has been told a thousand times to behave themselves, so as long as we don't give them any trouble, it'll be good news coverage for us. I can see the headlines now: Atheists respectfully visit museum to see what alternate views are being presented: Status? Not convinced.

6. As an extra bit of advertisement, everyone is going to be wearing atheist/skeptical/science shirts. This will be the first time for many religious museum goers to come into contact with someone they know is an atheist. If they can see that we're just normal, smiling human beings looking at the exhibit, that'll be a plus. Anything to get rid of the baby eating, puppy kicking stereotype.

7. We'll be able to meet and network with a ton of other freethinkers. Sounds pretty cool to me!

8. And know, not all atheists are a bunch of nihilists. Sometimes we like to have fun too. As terrifying as the Creation Museum will be, it'll also be hilariously entertaining. I'm willing to pay $10 for the shits and giggles.

So even though lots of people have concerns, I'm still looking forward to it. Hopefully the don't sick the dogs on us, though.

This is post 5 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.


  1. I wish I could go. That would be great fun. Instead, I will do the same thing I'm doing with SDCC; checking my Twitter feed and going 'Eeeee.' and 'OH WHAT THE HELL.'

    Though, seriously. Someone should get a recording of the whole group laughing like mad scientists at least once. Just once.

  2. Jen, does the museum realize you guys are coming? Like did you book a tour and such, and they are OK with it, or is there a possibility that you may be met by the guns and dogs at the door?

  3. I'm kinda curious how the breakdown in atheist attendees goes by deconverted and the never-religious. Having lived in a super fundamentalist environment and been taught creationism basically through university (I had to teach myself the real stuff) I have nearly zero interest in going to a museum on the nonsense.

    But I can understand a little bit more someone who never was exposed to it as much, being a bit more interested. Report on this afterwards! I want to know if my theory is completely off the wall or somewhat accurate!

  4. I'd go to lol. Even if I couldn't lol till later. But ohboy, would I lol.

    Yeah, I'd say it like that too.

  5. I'm really jealous of all the people going, would have loved to be able to come with. Bet it's going to be lots of fun, we expect a detailed blog post afterwards :D

  6. I don't see how they could NOT know we're coming. We're booking as a group under the SSA name, and there have a bajillion blog posts about it. They probably have someone who's job is to google Creation Museum and see what nasty things are being said about them.

  7. They should hire a well-connected atheist to do it for them.

  8. Or even just one that hangs around on blags all day anyway. It'd be getting paid just to find things to laugh at constantly.

  9. I'm a little worried that it'll hurt Cincinnati athiests, because of how people are in the greater Cincinnati area.

  10. I'm so very excited for all of you that get to go! I wish I had the time to get there!

  11. Since the religious nuts are trying to teach science. I think that the atheists should open up a Museum of Secular Theology. The exhibits would be a lot of fun. The zealots all ready dislike billboards and ads on buses, it would be something to watch them get their panties in a bunch over a Museum that shows that religion is bullshit..

  12. I'm going, and I'm really excited. Of course they know we're coming, and we aren't the first secular/science group to go. Paleontologists from the North American Paleontological Convention went just last month!

    I'm far more worried that the group will get rowdie and make us all look like jackasses than any violence. This is a PR event (for both sides), not a protest.

  13. Thank you for the well-spoken argument!